Allen Peterson: Galleries of work
Atlanta Map w Chronological Road Heights
Atlanta Map w Chronological Road Heights

Stainless steel. 35 x 65 x 4 inches. Commissioned by Marriott Hotels. The height of each road in this map was chosen according to how long that road has been in place. This makes Peachtree Street the tallest, because it was already there before Atlanta existed, as Peachtree Trail. It was used by the Cherokee and Creek people of Peachtree Village. Later came the railroad lines, still before the city called Atlanta was founded. Downtown grids were next, and more recent roads are flattest.

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Atlanta Map w Chronological Road Heights
Atlanta Map w Chronological Road Heights

Stainless steel. 35 x 65 x 4 inches. Commissioned by Marriott Hotels.

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Atlanta Map Formed Chronologically
Atlanta Map Formed Chronologically

cast iron, 38 x 24 x 3½ inches, 2009. This map of downtown Atlanta was created in the adjacent industrial neighborhood of Castleberry Hills. As molten iron was poured into a sand mold, the roads appeared as lines of fiery light, in a timelapse view of how the city grew across the land.

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Northwest Atlanta Globe
Northwest Atlanta Globe

cast aluminum, steel bolts, stainless, stained concrete. 8 foot diameter cast aluminum spheroid, roughly 30 x 35 foot plaza, 2015. This piece was commissioned by Fulton County Arts and Culture for the entry plaza to the Northwest Library at Scotts Crossing. Photo by Bryan Pearson.

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Northwest Atlanta Globe (detail)
Northwest Atlanta Globe (detail)

I worked with residents of the neighborhoods that are served by the new library – children and adults answered the question "What is important to you about your neighborhood?" in drawings and writings. Some part of each person's response is included in the sculpted metal maps that cover the surfaces of the Globe. Photo by Bryan Pearson.

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Northwest Atlanta Globe (detail)
Northwest Atlanta Globe (detail)

The industrial look of the sculpture, and its railroad imagery, are a response to the character of the various Northwest Atlanta neighborhoods that this library serves.

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detail of Northwest Atlanta Globe
detail of Northwest Atlanta Globe

This is a closeup of the 30 foot x 30 foot entry plaza to the Northwest Library at Scotts Crossing. These CNC-plasma cut stainless railroad elements are continuations of the metal tracks that crisscross the maps on the surface of the metal globe. They lead off the sculpture, down its concrete base, and across the entryway plaza before converging on the front door to the library, ushering library users in after they have walked across the surface of the artwork plaza.

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Map (Terra Cognita)
Map (Terra Cognita)

iron oxide on cast paper. 47 x 24 x ½ inches, 2004. This large-scale cast paper print was made using the components of the Terrain installation. Paper pulp was pressed into every detail of the hexagonal tiles. The resulting paper took its form, contour, and oxide pigmentation from the surface of the hexagons.

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Map (Terra Cognita) detail
Map (Terra Cognita) detail

iron oxide on cast paper. 93x44x ½ inches. This large-scale cast paper print was made using the components of the Terrain installation. Paper pulp was pressed into every detail of the hexagonal tiles. The resulting paper took its form, contour, and oxide pigmentation from the surface of the hexagons.

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            Communities are central to my work, both in the creative process and in the themes that I investigate.  I enjoy working with communities of people as an integral part of the production of large-scale public art projects.  Even in the more private setting of the studio, my work tends to involve the ideas of systems, structure, cooperation, and interdependence that can describe the formation of a community.

            Themes of maps and bees in my work are metaphors for the interconnections that make up a community.   A map is not a neutral documentation of a location, but forms a portrait of the mapmaker’s priorities through the information about that location that it includes or leaves out.  I use map imagery to play with the ideas of how we try to understand our surroundings and our world.

           

Gallery one: maps
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            Like humans, honeybees form mental maps of their surroundings.  They can communicate the precise location of external resources to other bees within the hive in a language that is based on dance and rhythm.  Bees are a model of community and cooperation that for me suggests the question of how we humans are like bees, and how we are unlike bees. I use materials and processes that relate to the history of industry, such as steel and cast iron, or mold-making and duplicative casting, to relate human effort to the beehive’s iconic industriousness.  Individual elements combine to form structures based on interrelationships.  The systematization of my own production becomes part of the piece as the rules of a game or a system of work. 

          

 
Gallery two: bees
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Hive Consciousness
Hive Consciousness

honeycomb built by bees onto cast beeswax, wood, varnish, latex paint. dimensions variable, 33 x 16½ x 60 inches. 2012. Thanks to Bob Binnie and the Hambidge Center.

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Hive Consciousness detail pp
Hive Consciousness detail pp

I sculpted the face and cast it in beeswax; a hive of honeybees then added their contribution by building out their own beeswax honeycomb. Thanks to Bob Binnie, and the Hambidge Center.

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Let’sAllBeBeekeepersWhenWeGrowUp
Let’sAllBeBeekeepersWhenWeGrowUp

Cast iron, enamel paint, beeswax, wood, latex paint. Dimensions variable, figures are 6 inches tall. (one hex with figures is 9½ x 13 x 15 inches) 2011-2013. This piece uses toylike figures to ask for a creative reimagining of agriculture on the scale of the individual.

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Beekeepers detail
Beekeepers detail

Cast iron, enamel paint, beeswax, wood, latex paint. Dimensions variable, figures are 6 inches tall. (one hex with figures is 9½ x 13 x 15 inches) 2011-2013. This piece uses toylike figures to ask for a creative reimagining of agriculture on the scale of the individual.

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Let'sAllBeBeekeepersWhenWeGrowUp
Let'sAllBeBeekeepersWhenWeGrowUp

Detail, during a Visiting Artist presentation at Turning Sun School. Cast iron, enamel paint, beeswax, wood, latex paint. Dimensions variable, figures are 6 inches tall. (one hex with figures is 9½ x 13 x 15 inches) 2011-2013. This piece uses toylike figures to ask for a creative reimagining of agriculture on the scale of the individual.

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Urban Bee Platform
Urban Bee Platform

Latex paint, wood, paper, fabricated steel. 48x12¾x8 inches. A 1:6 scale concept model of an alternative to the beekeeper’s standard hive. It elevates the hive to a height of 15 to 20 feet above ground, as a feral colony of bees might choose for its habitat in nature, making it possible to establish a hive of bees in a location such as an urban park or nature trail. Elevating the hive allows people to walk close by the site without alarming the bees (or themselves). 2010

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Coevolution 3
Coevolution 3

iron oxide and conté on cast paper. 23x17x¼ inches.

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Coevolution 5
Coevolution 5

iron oxide and conté on cast paper. 23x17x¼ inches

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Crosspollination, 2003.
Crosspollination, 2003.

Performance still. These bird-sized iron bee forms were “flown” like puppets by dancers to “pollinate” floral torches with the heat of red-hot metal. The choreography refers to the motion-based language that bees use to direct hive members to external resources.

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Queen Bee Window
Queen Bee Window

LED, steel, plexiglass. 48 x 24 x 3½ inches. 2019.

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Swarm Memorial / Biodiversity
Swarm Memorial / Biodiversity

Swarm Memorial (installation of metal honeybees): steel, enamel, woven wire. Dimensions vary, approx. 10’2” tall x 10 feet x 10 feet. 2019. Biodiversity (painting): acrylic latex and spray acrylic on unstretched canvas. 5 feet x 12 feet. 2019.

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Flying Honeybee mural
Flying Honeybee mural

Spray acrylic, latex, on interior wall

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Iron Beehive
Iron Beehive

Cast iron (bees and hexagons), digitally designed and CNC output steel, 2017. 12.5 x 4 x 4 feet. Currently on display on campus at University of West Georgia.

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Iron Beehive detail
Iron Beehive detail

Cast iron (bees and hexagons), digitally designed and CNC output steel, 2017. Detail -- bees have 8 inch wingspan. Currently on display on campus at University of West Georgia.

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Crosspollination Honeybee
Crosspollination Honeybee

2016-18. cast iron, painted steel. 13x14x16 inches. From 2016 performance art piece Crosspollination at Sculpture Fields

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Kirkwood Hive mural
Kirkwood Hive mural
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Kirkwood Hive detail
Kirkwood Hive detail
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Kirkwood Hive detail
Kirkwood Hive detail
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            Beyond the bees’ unified work within the hive, for various reasons honeybees have become interdependent with humans.  In 2007, the emergence of Colony Collapse Disorder gave more urgency to the topic of honeybees.  The well-being of honeybees has become a barometer for the environmental health of the planet and the ways in which humans continually impact the global ecosystem.  The relatively abstract ideas of system and community in my work sharpened into more specific questions of interdependence, and the problem of pollinating the crops that humans depend on for food.  I started to raise honeybee hives as a beekeeper, to gain the knowledge of bees provided only by firsthand experience.  I embraced using beekeeping as a sculptural medium, entering the dialogue between the various artists who collaborate with bees.

            The work, whether focused on maps or bees or both as subject matter, is an investigation of the nature of the systems and structure that can make a hive-like synergy possible in our own human communities.  I see my work as a continued questioning of how well we understand ourselves, each other, and our world.  My hope is that the viewer may see the possibilities at play within the structure of the work and accompany me on a journey of inquiry.

 

flora / fauna gallery:

The "flora/fauna" series is inspired by recent collaborations with my friend and local naturalist Charlie Muise.  Conversations with Charlie directed my research into various species of wildlife that live in Georgia.  My love of nature and fascination with natural processes fueled a deepening of my knowledge of local ecosystems and species that make this land their habitat.  That knowledge informed the metalwork that I made for Charlie, and the resulting imagery has continued to steer a course for the work in this series of artwork.

This work was a pop-up exhibition held at Wonderspace Atlanta during November and December 2017.  I designed each of the works in this series digitally, and realized them with a CNC plasma cutter in editions of five. 

Click on any work for pricing info, and click here to contact me about purchases.

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Red-winged Blackbirds Over Milkweed Field
Red-winged Blackbirds Over Milkweed Field

2018. Digital design, welded steel. 22 x 24 x 3 inches. Edition of 5 2-5 are available. $820.

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Eastern Painted Turtle
Eastern Painted Turtle

Allen Peterson, 2017. digital design, welded steel, enamel stain. 13.25 x 12 inches Edition of 5 3 through 5 are available $550 as shadowbox (pictured)

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Gopher Tortoise
Gopher Tortoise

2020, Allen Peterson. Digital design, enamel-stained steel, edition of 30. 5.25 x 6.75 inches. Commissioned by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia.

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American Black Bear
American Black Bear

Allen Peterson, 2018. digital design, welded steel, enamel stain. 13.25 x 12 inches Edition of 5 2 through 5 are available $550 as shadowbox (pictured)

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Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

2020, Commissioned by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia. Digital design, enamel-stained steel. 13.25 x 12 x 2 inches.

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Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark

Allen Peterson, 2017. digital design, welded steel, enamel stain. 13.25 x 12 inches Edition of 5 4 and 5 are available $550 as shadowbox (pictured)

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Saw-whet Owl
Saw-whet Owl

Allen Peterson, 2017. digital design, welded steel, enamel stain. 13.25 x 12 inches Edition of 5 All sold

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Rattlesnake Master
Rattlesnake Master

"Eastern Diamondback in Rattlesnake Master" Allen Peterson, 2017. digital design, welded steel, enamel stain. 24 x 12 inches Edition of 5 3, 4, and 5 are available $640 as shadowbox (pictured)

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Redwings wall
Redwings wall

Allen Peterson. digital design, welded steel, enamel paint. sizes vary from approximately 2 inches to 8 inches Small size $15 each (2"-3") Medium size $25 each (3"-5") Large size $38 each (5"-8") XL size $50 (over 8")

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Gallery three: public practice

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The Siren Song of Success
The Siren Song of Success

2019-20. Steel, PVC, precision parts, music. A giant music box made by Allen Peterson plays a musical composition written by Okorie Johnson.

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Paying Your Dues / Fame Stage
Paying Your Dues / Fame Stage
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Paying Your Dues/ Fame Stage 2014
Paying Your Dues/ Fame Stage 2014

Two musical performers, bicycle, wood, steel, wheels, sound. A bicycle cart as a tiny stage for musical performance, rolling on the Atlanta BeltLine bicycle trails! It takes two musicians to operate, alternating between pedaling the bike and playing onstage – equal time is the deal. This project was ongoing from August - November 2014.

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Plectracycle (at a Hambidge event)
Plectracycle (at a Hambidge event)

A volunteer performance, playing the Plectracycle while roaming the grounds of the Goat Farm art center in midtown Atlanta during the 2012 benefit for the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.

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Diving Board
Diving Board

Site specific installation (concrete park bench), on location of former municipal swimming pool, York, Alabama. 1.5 x2x9 feet. This public work is in Cherokee Park, the main public park in the town of York, Alabama. It marks the site of the former municipal swimming pool, which was unfairly closed by the town’s white officials in 1971 to prevent the facility’s integration.

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Kiddie Pool
Kiddie Pool

Cast iron on concrete slab; site-specific installation. 12x 25 feet. This public work is in Cherokee Park, the main public park in the town of York, Alabama. It marks the site of the former municipal swimming pool, which was unfairly closed by the town’s white officials in 1971 to prevent the facility’s integration. Its companion piece, Diving Board, visible to the right, is a functional park bench as well as another site marker.

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Northwest Atlanta Globe
Northwest Atlanta Globe

Peterson worked with neighbors from the surrounding communities that are served by the library to collect the residents’ answers in drawings and words to the question, “What is most important to you about your neighborhood?” Some part of each response was included on the surface details of the sculpture, so that it was the neighbors themselves who got to choose what would be featured on the map of the area.

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Public workshop for "Globe"
Public workshop for "Globe"

Over 150 local neighbors, including these youth at the Bankhead Library, provided their own drawings and words to answer the question, “What is most important to you about your neighborhood?” Some part of each response was included on the surface details of the sculpture, so that it was the residents themselves who got to choose what would be featured on the map of the area.

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Detail of Northwest Atlanta Globe
Detail of Northwest Atlanta Globe

Allen Peterson worked some part of each person's response into the surface details of the sculpture, so that it was the residents themselves who got to choose what would be featured on the map of the area. Visible here on the finished aluminum sculpture are an apartment complex, two elementary schools, and a fish pond, all as drawn by local neighbors.

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